Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Acceptance Speech, Draft 2,147

I have decided to write my Academy Awards acceptance speech early this year, so I will be able to devote all of my efforts to the most important business of looking fabulous as the day gets closer.

There is no question that I am going to win everything. Why on earth would they give an award to anyone other than moi if they know what's good for them, I mean, because I am so deserving and yet, so humble. Everybody loves me, and anyone who doesn't can go eat worms.

So here, with stage directions and everything, is My Acceptance Speech:

I want to thank all the little, tiny, unimportant, truly insignificant people who have helped me get where I am today by doing nasty, yukky things for me so that I don't have to do them myself. I can't remember their names because they are really so inconsequential and frankly, boring, that I've never bothered to learn them, but I want them to know how much I appreciate their cleaning out my navel lint and my ear wax and wiping my adorable ass so I don't ever have to deal with anything icky and disgusting and can just be perfect and beautiful all the time.

I am overwhelmed with pity for all the other women in the world because, (Eyes down, demurely. Look up through lashes) they can't be me. (Rueful grin.) I just love myself so much that I can't imagine having to go through life as anyone else. (Gaze pensively over audience while hugging self to push out boobs.)

I especially want to thank my plastic surgeon for giving me this perfect body with humungous tits and an 18" waist and awesome million-dollar butt, my cosmetic dentist for my breathtakingly dazzling smile, and my dermatologist for searching and destroying every tiny flaw before it's even visible so I can remain as perfect as a mummy forever. I owe everything to you guys. (Full-on prance, toss head engagingly, hold in gut, show off bod. BEAM.)

I thank my therapist for helping me to deal with the tremendous burdens of being drop-dead gorgeous and incredibly special, and I send a big wet smooch to my faithful Cockapooch, Armageddon, for letting me dye his hair to match all my outfits.

I thank my private chef, Famina Nervosa, and my personal trainer, Monsieur de Sade, and of course, my devoted agent ( I love you, darling!) my overworked divorce lawyers, my overworked accountants and stock brokers, my brilliant hairdressers and makeup artists, manicurist, eyebrow and body waxer, and of course, God, for giving me my dewey doe eyes and for making me totally irresistible. (Gaze upward, raptly, hands in prayer position.)

Special thanks to the Church of Scientology for helping me to understand that it's okay to step on people because I'm better than they are.

(Kiss Oscar on lips.) This statue is for all of you for the really small part you each played in my enormous success and for believing in me when I was just a little girl with a big dream and a big ego. (Fight back tears. Look wistful.)

Last but not least, I thank the Academy for finally giving me the recognition I deserve -- What took you so long? (Smile fetchingly, acknowledge laughter. Pause...)

Thank you, ACTORS!!!! (Blow Dinah Shore kisses, mmuuaaaahhhhhh!!!, simper for photos, hold up statue while leaning back and pressing in with upper arms to accentuate cleavage until tits nearly pop out of gown. Do this for as long as possible until removed from stage. Continue to smile radiantly as I return to my seat. Note: Be sure to Vaseline teeth so lips won't stick.)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Lascivious & Carnivorous

After mating, the female Black Widow spider often eats the male, who, apparently, is easily mistaken for prey. Oops. Praying mantises, though, like to combine romance with a nice dinner. They eat their husband's heads while in the act of mating. Munch, munch, ohh, baby.

A human female has been convicted of murdering her husband with arsenic so she could cash in his $250,000 military life insurance policy to get breast implants and throw wild parties. Cynthia Sommer wanted the kind of luxury not possible on her husband's $1,700 monthly salary as a Marine, so she bought some arsenic and "set herself free."

The death of her 23-year-old husband, Todd, was initially ruled a heart attack. Tests of his liver later showed levels of arsenic 1,020 times above normal. (There is a normal level of arsenic in our bodies?)

The couple had one child. She is also the mother of three children by a former marriage. (I wonder if her ex-husband is still living.) She is not the kind of person who should be breeding. The lovely lady is now engaged to a man she met two months after her husband's death. (Hope springs eternal.)

She and her perky implants face life in prison. This may not be the kind of high life she intended.

No One Is Above Suspicion

Sunday, January 28, 2007

A New Kind of Virgin Birth

A 67-year old Spanish woman who is believed to be the word's oldest new mother told a British newspaper that she lied to a fertility clinic in Los Angeles, saying she was 55 years old, to get treatment. 55 is the clinic's cut-off age for accepting patients.

She lived with her own mother, who died in 2005, all her life. She sold her mother's house to pay for in vitro fertilization, and gave birth to twin boys on December 29th.
She now hopes to find a younger husband to help her raise her children. To that end, she instructed the doctors who delivered her by C-section to make the cut really low so she could still wear a bikini.

I am trying to sort out why I find this disturbing. The most obvious reason is that it seems unfair to her children. While life is uncertain for everyone and 23-year olds can get hit by buses, the statistical chances of this mother dying before her sons are raised are certainly much greater. There is also the fact that she cannot possibly have the energy needed to run after twin toddlers every day and keep them safe from electrical sockets, darting into traffic, and the millions of other ingenious ways in which children are able to self-destruct. There is also a far greater chance that children of elderly mothers will suffer from various types of mental retardation, for which they will require special care. How is this fair to them?

That is why most women in their late 60's are GRANDmothers, or even great-grandmothers, not often entrusted with the constant, day-to-day care of infants and active children. I'm sure it has something to do with preservation of the species.

She hatched :) this scheme after her mother died. Apparently, she needed a new hobby, and thought it would be fun to finally have children. I think it was selfish. But I'll give her this: She must be one hot number if she expects to find a younger husband (how much younger?) to help her raise these children. Why would anyone do that?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Judge Judy, Hear My Plaint

We've established that I'm sick. I didn't go to the doctor but I wish I had because now it's the weekend. I do not want to go to the hospital.

Flip has decided that he is feeling poorly, for which he needed to buy large quantities of Crown Royal and beer. He said it would make me feel better. I do not drink. At all. Yes, I know I'm messed up. That is not relevant here.

It is now 8:45 p.m. We have had nothing to eat today but an English muffin and a package of microwave popcorn, both prepared by me. I just put on a pot of sushi rice because it was all I could manage. I washed an entire sink full of yesterday's dishes, getting my pajamas wet in the process. The red ones. The floor, too. I muttered the whole time. Flip said that I have great comedic timing. This made me angrier.

"I'm the one who's sick here. You're supposed to be taking care of ME." He laughed some more as he swigged his Heineken. I'm sure it was guilty laughter. He was trying to charm me into a better mood so I would laugh, too, and his guilt would dissolve magically in the steamy, germ-filled kitchen. It didn't work.

I don't like to be competitive here, but only one illness to a family, and I got there first. Any more than that is a recipe for disaster. It is also highly unfair.

I love the man dearly, but I do not like him right now. Besides his wussy copycat psychosomatic ailment, he is channeling Jimi Hendrix on his computer. That is not the kind of music I wish to hear when I am in the process of expiring.

They will find my parched bones one day, feet in the air like a dead bird. "Hmmm, it looks as if the lady starved to death," the Medical Examiner will say, shaking her head cheerfully. "By the way, what's for lunch today?"

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Suitable for Framing

Our friend, Stephen, sent me this photo. He suggests that I print and hang it in plain view so that Flip will remember my grave condition.

Thanks, Stephen. I need all the help I can get.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

12-Step Program

I have a substance-abuse problem. At the first sign of a cold, I develop a hard-core addiction to cough drops. I do not get colds very often, but since I have had pneumonia five times, I believe that you can't be too careful.

This morning, I woke up super-congested and aching all over. I steamed myself in the shower until my fingers and toes shriveled, then put on my designated sick clothes, sweat pants and flannel shirt, to go to the health food store. I am a poor pill taker, so I needed lozenges. They did not have any with vitamin C, zinc, echinacea and goldenseal, the magical combination, but I bought Elderberry Cherry Herbal Throat Drops with Menthol and Organic Cranberry Raspberry with Vitamin C and Zinc.

Then I drove to the Asian grocery for Panax Ginseng and Genmai Cha tea. While I was there, I snagged Ricola Echinacea Orange-Spice Cough Drops, which I happen to know are yummy.

I was burning up all night, so I decided to spring for a thermometer. I haven't owned one since my children left home. I got a very elegant digital one, batteries included, that can be used under armpits (tickles,) rectally (will never happen,) or orally. (Bingo.) It seems like they should have mentioned in the directions that if you choose to use it rectally, you should never even consider using it orally again. Not that it's relevant to me. I'm just saying.

The drugstore also had Luden's Honey Licorice Cough Drops, which I have always been able to put away in large amounts. I bought three bags. I do not suck cough drops. I chew them. They do not last long.

Whole Foods had Cara oranges, the ones with pink flesh that I love so much. The demo model looked juicy and delicious. The ones I bought are as hard and dried up as you would expect of last year's harvest. I should have been told.

I also purchased a selection of dried fruits which came with directions: Refrigerate after opening. I did not do so because I wanted to eat some first, and I'm sick. This is not a good time to crawl into the refrigerator.

Safeway offered Vick's Honey and Menthol, Ricola Cherry-Honey, Original Herbal with Echinacea, Honey-Herb Throat Drops, and Lemon-Mint. I bought them all, just to be on the safe side. Also Smith Brothers Original Black Cough Drops because I love antiques, even though those guys scared me to death when I was three. I had never seen a beard before. They looked sinister.

I rounded off the menu with Zand Black Cherry with Vitamin C, and also Honey-Licorice. Most of the food groups are accounted for.

I just reminded Flip for the third or forth time that I don't feel well. I whined it, actually. I am a sorry mess when I am sick. I become very clingy and believe with every fibre of my being that I will not survive the night.

My last cat, Moonshine, acted like that in her dotage. She seemed to be convinced that I, alone, stood between her and death, and plastered herself to me whenever possible. Now Flip has that to look forward to. I would feel sorry for him if I didn't need all of my sympathy for myself.

He just mentioned something that had nothing to do with my illness. I reminded him again. Sometimes he has to be steered in the right direction. I will make him obsess about me and how sick I am if it's the last thing I do.

I know that I am seriously ill when I don't feel well enough to wear earrings. And I intend to put on my pajamas tonight. I have one pair. They are red flannel. They are comforting when I am sick. I only need one pair because when I am well, I wear nothing to bed.

My vast selection of cough drops is lined up on my desk like a chorus line. In my fever-induced delirium, they seem to be doing the Can-Can. I have run through two large boxes of Kleenex already. Every cough drop I consume brings me closer to extinction. The teensy little individual wrappers are everywhere. They'll be turning up in odd places for years.

I will definitely leave something behind when I go.

"My name is Susan. I'm a cough drop-aholic."

"Hiiiii, Susan."

Monday, January 22, 2007

It's Only a Paper Moon

I am devastated. I have just learned that in about 5 billion years, the moon is going to disintegrate.

The sun will swell until its atmosphere envelops the Earth and moon. The space through which they orbit will contain more molecules, causing a phenomenon called "gas drag."

The moon is now moving away from Earth, and its orbit is increasing. By then, it will take about 47 days to orbit the Earth. Meanwhile, Earth's spin will also have slowed to one rotation every 47 days.

Except for February? And what about Leap Year?

The moon will be the sun's first victim.

I'm not sure why I find this disturbing. Not exactly panic-inducing, but definitely disturbing. Chances are, I will not be around to witness the devastation, nor will anyone I know. But presumably, there will still be life on our planet. And I fear for them.

It is believed that Earth's moon was born about 4.5 billion years ago in a collision between Earth and another planet the size of Mars. The enormous impact threw debris into orbit around the young Earth, and from this maelstrom, the moon coalesced.

For the last few billion years, the moon's gravity has been raising tides in our oceans while the moon has been pushed away from Earth by 1.6 inches (4 centimeters) per year as our planet's rotation slows.

In other words, the gears are getting mushy. The tidal forces pulling the moon apart are stronger than the gravity holding it together. It's doomed.

The sun's mutation into a red giant is likely to ensure that the moon ends its days the way it began, as a ring of Earth-girdling debris. It will be torn to pieces.

Every crater, mountain, valley, footprint and flag will be scattered to form a Saturn-like ring of debris 23,000-miles in diameter (37,000-kilometers) above the equator. The new ring will eventually rain down onto Earth's surface.

What will artists and lovers and song writers do when there is no moon?

Update: I mentioned this information to my beloved friend, Adolf, who is 104. As I said in my post about him on his birthday in October, he is my definitive proof that senility is not mandatory.

His comment about the moon's impending doom was, "I am much more concerned about the way we humans are treating each other right now, today. We have ever more sophisticated ways to kill each other, yet there is still hunger and disease as well as war. Who cares about the moon when faced with problems such as these?"

I stand corrected. And I don't know what I will do when there is no Adolf anymore.

Friday, January 19, 2007


I don't want to brag, but I know the Dolphin Ambassador. It's true. She is a self-described "vehicle for the energy and consciousness of dolphins." She offers classes and individual healing sessions in which "pod mind" is experienced. She teaches people "how to be in conscious co-creatorship with the dolphins to enhance their daily life."

It is also possible to experience Dolphin Energy Sessions by phone. Another offering is the Deep Dive Series, which consists of 10 sessions at $600 per session. ("The dolphins recommend a minimum of 10 sessions to experience maximum benefits from their energy.")

I asked her how it was possible to swim with dolphins as she lives in Sedona, Arizona, which, the last time I looked, was landlocked.

She said, "It isn't necessary to swim with them. I am their Ambassador."


"Weddings with dolphin love & joy" are also available, as well as aromatherapy sessions and speaking engagements. My favorite product in the line is Dolphin Heart Essence. "Formulated by the dolphins, this essential oil blend carries the frequency of the dolphin heart."

I picture dolphins in white coats working in their lab down in Davy Jones' Locker. And I clutch my purse strings very tightly lest "the dolphins" decide to divest me of my cash by hypnosis or psychokinesis.

When I was a child, my family owned a 34 foot cabin cruiser on which we took long vacations. On one such trip between Long Island, NY, and Nantucket Island, MA, a hurricane came up on Block Island Sound. The boat was pitching and being tossed upside down for hours in the dark.

I was in the cabin below deck, nose pressed to a small round porthole, from which I had an excellent view of the insides of waves. My parents were unable to read their charts, and it didn't look good for my family.

Suddenly, two dolphins appeared by the bow of our boat. My father had the good sense to follow them, and they led us through the stormy seas into port at Nantucket. We tied up between two commercial fishing boats, driven into shore several days early by the ferocity of the storm, which had come up with no warning. The fishermen gave my parents fresh scallops, which my mother cooked in our tiny galley for them and our family.

Dolphins are, indeed, magnificent and highly intelligent, magical animals. I wonder how they feel about being exploited in a get-rich-quick scheme that does not benefit their species, or any species but the one called Charlatan.

Furniture for Lovers

I found it! I found the place where hookers buy their furniture. It's all there -- the round, fur-trimmed king-sized bed dripping semen, the love seat shaped like lips, the chairs that look like high-heeled shoes in hot pink or leopard print, the chaise lounge with 12-foot long tongue. Rolling Stones Lips, um, comes, to mind here.

Now I know where my neighbor, Next-Door Whore, buys her stuff.

I went in and browsed. I was giggling uncontrollably. Snorting a little. The salesman looked as serious as a pimp on payday. I tried to stop. I really tried. Couldn't.

"Omigod, teehee, would ya look at that?"

He wanted to throw me out, but he had real customers. An old man draped in Italian silk who still managed to resemble an unmade bed with a woman of indeterminate age in painted-on capris and nylon halter topped by a fur jacket, probably weasel. She was wearing 8" heels, which made her taller than anyone in the store except my husband, who was trying to hush me without putting his hand over my mouth in public. I used to be an embarrassment to my parents. Now I'm an embarrassment to my husband. I am consistent.

The other couple was looking at The Bed. In the window. I loitered and would not be distracted because I thought they were going to try it out. In the window. And I wanted to be there when they did. With my camera.

The woman clattered noisily into the display and sat on the bed. She bounced a little on her butt that was showing the tiniest bit of discreet crack. I was trying to see her shoes. I wanted to know if they actually had round heels. I almost fell into her lap.

"Can.I.Help.You," growled the salesman. He did not smile. I did not feel welcome.

"Oh, no. I'm just looking," I chirped sweetly. I used my "Puppy, puppy, good puppy" voice. Her heels were not round. You should not believe everything you hear.

Friday, January 12, 2007


I bought my cat a video. I couldn't wait to play it for her. Two hours of prey-worthy small animals doing small animal things, with sound effects. "Complete with the Sights & Sounds of Nature in Stereo! 400,000 Videos sold! Two Paws Up! Guaranteed Feline Fun or Your Money Back!"

She was sleeping with her head on upside down. She didn't move when I put the movie on.

"Look, Truffle," I chirped in an improbably high voice. She ignored me.

"TRUFFLE! We! Have! A! Movie!!!"

She curled up tighter to shut out the annoying sound. I picked her up. She dangled like fresh road kill. Truffle has on occasion been mistaken for taxidermy. I walked over to the TV and propped her head up so it was pointing in the right direction.

She struggled a little, reflexively, like rigor mortis, and went back to sleep. Whatever she was dreaming about was far more riveting than the chattering chipmunks and twittering birds on the screen.

I knew she wasn't dead because she had requisitioned her third meal of the day from me a short time before with considerable enthusiasm. I turned up the sound on the video. She snored softly into my shoulder.

This movie has a cast of thousands. The main characters, listed alphabetically, are: Ben & Betty Bird, Bonnie Butterfly, Charles Chipmunk, Freddy Fish, Gary Gerbil, Paulie Parrot, Sammy Squirrel, and other "Denizens of the Backyard."

Denizens, my ass. If the actors had been little tins of chicken, turkey, tuna and mackerel, she might have recognized them as part of her food pyramid. But Truffle has never had to bring down a can. Due to her lack of thumbs, she doesn't even open them herself.

She continued to play Dead Kitty until I switched to Special Victim's Unit, when she suddenly jolted upright, shook herself vigorously, and settled in my lap so we could watch Olivia Benson run down perps together.

There is nothing like a relaxing evening of crime TV with my cat.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

First Lady of Song

Ella Fitzgerald, my favorite singer of all time in any genre, winner of 13 Grammys, the Kennedy Center Award, an honorary doctorate in music from Yale University, The National Medal of Art from President Ronald Reagan, and The Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George H.W. Bush, has just been honored with a postage stamp.

Her singing style can best be described as effortless. She was a vocal marvel, blessed with perfect pitch and clarity of tone, a 3-octave range, incredible taste, and a talent for improvisation. During her fifty-seven year recording career, she sang with big bands, duos, trios, and symphony orchestras in a variety of styles ranging from the standards of Cole Porter, the Gershwins, Irving Berlin, Rogers and Hart, to scat, (harmonic variations of the melody in nonsense syllables,) and was also a proficient pop singer.

There was nothing she couldn't do, superbly. Ella Fitzgerald was also a magnificently humble woman whose ego never got in the way of presenting a song to its best advantage. Unlike other jazz greats like Billie Holiday (my other favorite,) she had a personal life unmarred by drug abuse or scandal of any kind.

When I think of a person who accomplished what she was meant to do in life, Ella Fitzgerald comes to mind first. But the cost was high. Ironically, as she sang of perfect romance and provided the backdrop for numberless other peoples' romances, she never experienced it herself.

Her first marriage, to a drug dealer, was annulled a short time later. Her second, to legendary bassist Ray Brown, lasted four years, during which time the couple adopted a baby boy born to her sister, Frances. They named him Ray Brown, Jr.

I can't remember how many times I fell in love to Ella's music. It was impossible not to love whoever I was with when she was singing. Eventually, I learned to distinguish my love for her and her incredible voice from the lucky shooters across the romantic little tables from me.

Born in 1918, she died of diabetes in 1996 at the age of 78. In doing her life's work so gloriously, she enhanced the lives of millions of others. We should all be so blessed.

A few days after her death, The New York Times columnist Frank Rich wrote that in the songbook series, Fitzgerald "performed a cultural transaction as extraordinary as Elvis's contemporaneous integration of white and African-American soul. Here was a black woman popularizing urban songs often written by immigrant Jews to a national audience of predominantly white Christians."

And that's why the lady has a stamp.

R.I.P., Ella. You will be loved forever.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Shopping With Bonzo

I am the Queen of Take-It-Back. I returned an item that I had second thoughts about. It was a beautiful bag, but I had to face up to the fact that it was simply too big for me, and things could never work out between us.

I sent Flip to the Men's Department while I conducted my transaction so he wouldn't see me cry. Nordstrom's was having a sale, and he is a bit of a shirt junkie. Okay, he's the Shirt King. His Indian name is Many Shirts.

He found several. They were not on sale. He bought them anyway because cost is irrelevant to Flip. He is a black hole where money is concerned. He has a philosophy of life slightly to the left of whoopee.

When I caught up with him, at the register, I noticed that they had some men's shoes on sale, too. Very nice ones. I suggested he try some because he does need more shoes.

This is true of everyone, of course. It is physically impossible to have too many shoes. The sale shoes didn't fit, but he saw some Other Shoes. The really expensive Not-On-Sale shoes.

He tried on a pair.

"Do they look gay?" he asked.

I shrugged. "Let's ask the salesman. He's a guy. He'll know."

"Do these look gay?" I asked the young man. As I was speaking, I noticed that he was wearing earrings. Uh oh. Diamond studs. Big ones. I was relieved to see that they were in BOTH ears, not just the right one.

He assured Flip that the shoes did not look gay. But he had lost his credibility because Flip had also spotted the diamond earrings. He requested a different style in his size.

As the nice young salesman with diamond earrings sparkled into the stock room, Flip said to me, "Nice work. We'll never see him again."

"Of course we will," I said.

"He took an early lunch. Or quit. You really have a way."

"Lots of straight men wear earrings in both ears," I said. "It doesn't mean he's a double-hitter or anything. It's just a style."

Flip shook his head. "Trust me. They don't. When the store closes, we'll still be sitting here. You lost him."

He began to shove his feet back into his sneakers.

"I happen to know that many gay men don't want to look 'gay' either," I said. He rolled his eyes in that annoying way people do when I talk to them.

"In the ear, out the mouth," my husband muttered. I hate it when he does that. I think that muttering shows disrespect. I offered to disappear (into Womens' shoes) but he was sure the harm was already done. He had no idea how much harm I could do over there. (Bless his heart.)

Eventually, our salesman returned. Flip bought the shoes. He probably would have even if they didn't fit to make it up to the guy.

Flip is not a homophobe; he just doesn't want to LOOK gay. I do not understand why this is an issue for men. It's common knowledge that gay men often have incredible taste.

Women would kill for the chance to look fabulous. We wouldn't quibble. So why would a man deliberately settle for looking like a guy when he could dress like a gay guy and turn heads?

I just don't get it.

Creeps in Sheets

A leader of the white supremacist movement was arrested by FBI agents at his home in Charlottesville,Virginia, on charges of possession of child pornography and witness tampering.

Kevin Alfred Strom, founder of the National Vanguard white supremacist group, was considered the "leading intellectual" of the movement since the death of William Pierce, the author of the notorious "Turner Diaries." I haven't read it, but understand that it's a novel which depicts a violent racist revolutionary struggle in the United States that escalates into global genocide, leading to the extermination of all people who are not white.

National Vanguard is an offshoot of the National Alliance, a clear case of evil replicating.

The use of the word "intellectual" struck me as ludicrous in the context of his beliefs, so I looked it up to see what I was missing. My Oxford Dictionary defines it as "possessing a high level of understanding or intelligence; cultured."

I guess we can assume that in Strom's case, it's a matter of degree, and his position as the "leading intellectual" was secured by the fact that the rest of his cohorts are even more ignorant than he is, which is hard to believe. It's not their fault they're morons, but since they are DANGEROUS morons, it becomes our concern.

Pierce was the founder of the National Alliance, the largest white separatist organization in America. Membership is based upon being of purely white or non-Jewish European ancestry. (An article appearing in a 1989 issue of its magazine National Vanguard celebrated the 100th anniversary of Hitler's birth, declaring him "the greatest man of our era.") These are clearly fun people.

According to the indictment, Strom possessed multiple images of child pornography on his computer's hard drive. He was also charged with witness tampering, which involved physically assaulting and mentally intimidating a witness to his criminal activity. He was at war with the media for "making interracial sex fashionable to white children."

How is it that such people are still around, force-feeding their archaic views to new generations? You would think that natural selection would have weeded them out by now. I understand that their tainted utterings are permitted under the First Amendment, but there should be a loophole. While I normally endorse freedom in every form, I struggle with my strong feelings that such monstrous behaviors should not be tolerated because they inevitably impinge upon the rights and freedoms of other people.

Strom was not arrested for his vicious racial views, but for child pornography. If he did not happen to be a pedophile, his other nasty activities would not be subject to legal censure. There really ought to be a law.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Angels Without Wings

An 18-year old man named Cameron Hollowpeter suffered a seizure and fell onto the subway tracks in Manhattan yesterday as a train approached.

Wes Autrey, a 50-year old Navy veteran and construction worker, was standing nearby on the platform with his young children. As they watched in horror, their dad jumped down to the track area and lay on top of the other man, holding him down as the train passed over them both.

"He didn't know who I was," said Autrey. "He was incoherent. The train comes and I have to make the decision whether to struggle and try to get him up to the platform or dive for the gutter and just push him back. So my thing was to just push him back and lay on top of him."

When asked if the bottom of the train touched the top of his head, Autrey said, "It could have."

We hear so much about random violence these days. It's rare to hear about random heroism. It makes you wonder if maybe we all have the kind of selfless shining goodness in us that would make us offer our life for a stranger. If we have resources of courage that we're not using. If maybe we are all angels in disguise. It would be nice to think so.

My Failed Assassination

Several years ago, my husband, Flip, and I flew to Portland, Maine, to visit my older daughter. While there, we went to lunch with E and her fiance, B, at a restaurant in nearby Kennebunkport.

E dragged me excitedly by the hand through the restaurant to our table on the deck overlooking many pleasure boats, one of which belonged to ex-President George H.W. Bush. He was at the table next to us with three guys dressed as fishing buddies who were probably Secret Servicemen, having an animated conversation over lunch.

Flip was seated back-to-back with the Elder Mr. Bush. Their chairs were about three inches apart, and I was across from him with a good view of the neighboring table as well.

It was chilly, so I went out to the car to get a sweater for myself and a flannel shirt for Flip. When I returned, I walked around to his side of the table to place the shirt around his shoulders. Flip is over 6'3" , while I am 5'1", so I had to lift my arms high to accomplish this, even though he was seated.

I was also suddenly inside Mr. Bush's personal space as his chair was so close to Flip's. With his peripheral vision, he saw a shape, much too close to him, with raised arms. He snapped his head toward me with a look of absolute horror on his face, quickly noted that I was no threat to him, and went back to his conversation.

In that moment, I realized that for the rest of his life, he would fear assassination. That all ex-Presidents and other public figures must be on guard wherever they go. It was also clear to both of us that if I HAD been there to kill him and willing to die, his Secret Servicemen would not have been able to prevent it.

I do not think that fame is worth the price of losing ones anonymity and peace of mind. When young, we often lust to be cultural icons of some kind, so well-known that people treat us like gods. Whether we hope to accomplish this through music, art, politics, or even modeling, it dangles a shiny lure for so many.

When we stop assuming that famous people are somehow better than the rest of us and that only the most accomplished rise to the top in any field, fame loses its luster. I have always believed that in the political sphere, the most dangerous seek power. Events, both recent and historic, would seem to bear this out, while some of the best minds and hearts of all time have not become well-known at all.

But until I scared George Bush senseless over lobster, I never realized that fame is also a trap from which there is no exit short of death. John Lennon, Anwar Sadat, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohandas Ghandi, the list is endless.

Fame is not all it's cracked up to be.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Tough Titty

I had my yearly mammogram in mid-December and got a letter stating that I needed to return for further screening in the form of an ultrasound and diagnostic mammogram.

When I arrived for my appointment today, I met with a technician who spends her days grabbing other women's tatas and flopping them down on a frozen platform like freshly killed fish, then winching the nasty vice she got on sale at the Marquis de Sade Mart to the tightest notch.

I had been told the suspicious mass was in my left breast, but Amy, the technician, informed me that it was my right one. I said that I was confused as I had been told it was the left. She scanned the report and said she was sure it was the right, and maybe I had been given the wrong information.

I'm usually pretty understanding and let them off the hook, but this is my life we're talking about. "Well, I could have been," I said, "but would you please check again so we know for sure?"

She did. It was the left breast. Apparently those words look too much alike to be readily distinguished. L-E-F-T. R-I-G-H-T. Anybody could make that mistake.

She introduced me to her machine and directed me to remove the left sleeve of my robe. Second base on the first date. I felt so cheap. The machine was icy.

Why do they always ask, "Are you all right" from behind their safety barricade when you gasp involuntarily? And expect you to say you are. There is no way you are all right while your boobs are being squeezed so tight that you expect them to pop.

I think random thoughts at such times, like what do they do with women who have implants? Do they burst open like overripe pumpkins after Halloween?

When I could speak again, I asked Amy, the technician, who has a solid army background, by the way, how they do mammograms on women with fake mammaries.

She stopped tinkering with her equipment and actually looked at me for a second, a quick flick of the eyes, reminiscent of the way a fly swatter kills a fly.

"Do you have implants?" she asked.

"No," I said. "I was just wondering."

Amy sighed in exasperation. I often have that effect on people. "Then we don't need to be concerned with that," she said through her teeth.

Well, no. But I had waited a very long time in my little dressing gown, white waffle-pique, opens in the front, and now she was hurting me. I thought I was entitled to something in return.

"CAN you do mammograms on patients who have them?" I persisted. I was thinking maybe I should look into getting some if they serve as a get home free card. No more mammograms, ever, sounded really good at this point.

There is something fundamentally wrong with voluntarily handing over your body parts to be tortured, knowing in advance that you are walking into an ambush. She ignored me and pretended to be very engrossed in the picture on her screen.

"Can I see, too?" I asked.

She didn't respond so I walked across the room and looked at her monitor. My breast looked huge, which it isn't. The photo was not suitable for hanging in a machine shop, just plain bad lighting, and it was hard to imagine where a pasty would go.

She told me I would have to wait for the doctor. A half hour later, a woman came in and introduced herself as Dr. ----. Doctors rarely have first names, or else "Doctor" IS their first name and they had prescient parents.

The upshot was, she wasn't sure what she was seeing either. My earlier mammogram showed a large mass, but the ultra sound today showed a small one. The repeat mammogram was not discussed as apparently neither Dr. Doctor or Amy was able to read it.

So I have to go in a third time for a needle biopsy whenever the receptionist collects her messages and calls me back. I am not impressed with the quality of care I received today. And there is no decent shopping in that neighborhood for those seeking comfort and obliteration in retail therapy. Also, I have a headache. I think it's because they squeezed my chi chi's so tight my head burst.

As Hemingway said in "The Sun Also Rises," "It was a rotten way to be wounded." He was talking about balls, but it's a fair analogy, as nearly as I can imagine.

I don't think they do things like that to men. "Turn your head. Cough." Men are wimps.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Yessir, I'm Your Baby

The first New Year's Eve I can remember, I was 5 years old. I had begged my parents to let me stay up until midnight, but they said I was too young. They invited several other couples over to celebrate with them, and everyone knows you can lead a child to bed, but you can't make her sleep. No self-respecting child would sleep through an adult party, anyway. Didn't they understand that I needed to be there?

Somehow I got the idea of dressing up as the New Year's baby. I cut up a bed sheet to make a banner, and scrawled the year on it with Magic Marker. In the interest of authenticity, I took off all my clothes and draped myself in the banner from one shoulder across my chest to the other hip, where I pinned it closed with a diaper pin. I thought I looked adorable.

Convinced that I would be the hit of my parent's party, I tiptoed downstairs and strolled through the living room. You could have heard a diaper pin drop on the thick green carpet. All the adults put down their drinks in unison and stared, speechless, at me.

My parents noticed immediately that I was naked. I was snatched up and carried back to my room by my father, who could move pretty fast for an old guy.

Nobody complimented me on livening up their party in my fine outfit. They went back to clinking glasses and picking dainty snacks off trays as if nothing had happened. I was not offered any pigs in blankets, caviar on Ritz crackers, or even chunks of ice to chew on. I was 86'd from my own living room for violating a dress code I didn't know existed. As it turned out, I was dressed perfectly for a spanking. No flowered Lollipop underpants to remove, just my little pink butt, completely unprotected, asking for it. I guess you could say that I WAS the hit of the party.